Mapping the Destruction of the Indonesia Tsunami

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Mapping the Destruction of the Indonesia Tsunami

Rescue teams are beginning to assess the scale of the destruction after a 7.5-magnitude earthquake and a tsunami struck the large Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Friday, leaving more than 800 dead and thousands of buildings destroyed.

Waves from the tsunami reached as high as 20 feet. A computer model by Andreas Schäfer, a geologist from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, showed the waves growing larger as they entered the bay.

Palu, a city of about 380,000, saw extensive damage from the earthquake and tsunami. More than 48,000 people have been forced out of their homes and into refugee camps spread across the area, according to the national disaster response agency.

This is a bridge that spanned the mouth of the Palu River before the disaster:

Here’s the same bridge after the tsunami:

The damage caused by the disaster was broader, though, than what can be seen in a photograph. Images from the satellite company Planet, taken three days after the earthquake, show the wider effects of the disaster.

The images show sediment spilling out of Palu River and into the bay. You can also see the collapsed yellow bridge from the photos above lying over the mouth of the river in the “after” image below.

On the eastern side of the bay, you can see where the waves scoured the beachfront, reducing buildings to rubble in many places.

The images also show apparent landslides south of Palu’s airport, likely the effects of the earthquake.

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